Experts: Foreclosures at Record Levels in Dane County

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

When Dave Lobenstein bought this house north of Madison three years ago, he got one heck of a deal.

"They just told me it was on the market for awhile, reduced price, and it was in my price range," said Lobenstein.

It was a hot housing market back then, but Lobenstein got a great price, because the house was a foreclosure.

"I had no intention of getting a foreclosed house," said Lobenstein, "it's just that's what was dropped into my lap."

There are a lot of people who will soon have deals like Lobenstein's drop into their laps.

And that's not good news for everyone.

Experts say southern Wisconsin is experiencing its highest number of foreclosures ever.

According to researchers at the Cazel Family Law Offices, in Dane county, the number of foreclosures this year has gone up 55 percent compared to 2005 ...and there's still one month to go.

Since 2000, the number of foreclosures in the county have more than doubled.

"Sometimes people do buy more house than they can afford or they go with an interest only loan and all of a sudden, they need to sell it and they can't, because it's not valued enough to get their money out of it," said Chuck Ritter, consumer credit counselor.

Ritter says a lot of home buyers got themselves into trouble when interest rates were lower a few years ago, with things like 'interest-only' or 'flexible-rate' loans.

If those people come across any other financial problem, Ritter says recovering can seem impossible.

"I see people coming in, 10, 20, 30, $40,000, $50,000 worth of credit card debt," said Ritter, "on top of their mortgage and maybe a car loan, student loan debt, it just gets out of hand."

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